Terrorism, meaning, concept of terrorism, characteristics of terrorism


Definition of terrorism

There is no universal agreement in the world on the definition of terrorism. Various government agencies and their legal systems use different definitions of terrorism and interprets the term differently. Moreover, the world have been reluctant to find an agreed-upon and legally binding definition of terrorism. Difficulties arise from the fact that the term has become politically and emotionally charged. The difficulty in defining the term “terrorism” is in agreeing on a basis for determining when the use of violence (directed at whom, by whom, for what ends) is legitimate. The modern definition of terrorism is inherently controversial and can never be fixed in all the situations because all the time when the word “terrorism” is interpreted it is systematically biased. Due to this reason the word is in controversy. Violence is one of the way to which is used by the people to deliver their feelings and disagreements to the governments, and on the other hand the use of violence for the achievement of political ends is common to state and non-state groups. The majority of definitions of terrorism written by the agencies directly associated with government, so at every time the government decide who are the terrorist and who are not, the contemporary label of “terrorist” is highly pejorative– it denotes a lack of legitimacy and morality. Some of the time people see a terrorism in its extraordinary form which can never be consider a terrorism but when we compared it with the definition and the character of terrorism, we get to know all the features of terrorism in the act and this type of terrorism is known as state terrorism.

State Terrorism

A terrorism practiced by a government against its own people or in support of international terrorism.. State terrorism has been defined as acts of terrorism conducted by governments or terrorism carried out directly by, or encouraged and funded by, an established government of a state (country) or Terrorism is often, though not always, “State terrorism” is as controversial a concept as that of terrorism itself.

Characteristics of terrorism

Terrorism can be defined in terms of four characteristics:

  • the threat or use of violence;
  • a political objective; the desire to change the status quo;
  • the intention to spread fear by committing spectacular public acts;
  • the intentional targeting of civilians.

This last element–targeting innocent civilians—is problematic when one tries to distinguish state terrorism from other forms of state violence.

Democratic vs Dictatorships regimes  and State terrorism

State terrorism may be fostered by democratic regimes to the populations outside their borders or perceived as alien; but they do not terrorize their own populations because a regime that is truly based on the violent suppression of most citizens would cease to be democratic.

Democracies do not terrorize their own populations but on the other hand in dictatorships terrorize their own populations is high, but no dictator want to lose their status and rule, so whenever a situation occur which is unfavorable to the rule of the dictator, the dictator chose to become a man of power. On the other hand the democracies prefer to be democratic and never shows ruthless behaviors, but they can engage in state sponsored terrorism in other countries.

Declaring war and sending the military to fight other militaries is not terrorism, nor is the use of violence to punish criminals who have been convicted of violent crimes, but many would argue that democracies are also capable of terrorism.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here